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JB01

JB01
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Member since: 17.02.2006

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    • Walkers Baked Ready Salted / Snacks / 31 Readings / 26 Ratings
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      13.12.2007 22:13
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      Are Walker Baked crisps a better crisp

      Like most big brand names my Walkers crisps are available in most supermarkets, mine came from Sainsbury's on special offer at 25p a bag. The bag is predominantly red on one side and full of information on the other. Content weight 25g.

      NUTRITIONAL CONTENT

      In the bottom left hand corner of the package a large 70% number informing us that these chips have 70% less fat than Walkers crisp generally. Below this guide facts concerning content of Calories, Sugar, Fat, Saturates, Salt and how much they full fill
      Adult's daily amount, not much for example the chips inside are 98 calories but only 5% RDA. All useful stuff when planning a healthy diet.

      On the reverse of the packet some advertising selling the flavour and health advantages of baked food followed by a more specific argument concerning Walkers Baked. Further nutritional information follows including advice on its suitability for vegetarians (these are) and contact details if you have problems with the crisp and the packaging.

      THE CRISP

      The crisp are various sizes and crinkled, they do not smell as strongly as other crisps I have tried, I think the flavour is rather bland. I munched away loyally at these crisps but did not find them as favourable as Walkers and other non - baked varieties.

      CONCLUSION

      Obviously the flavour was not a sufficient reason for sending the lot back to Walkers HQ, but after the 1st few crisps I felt like doing just that and asking for a Walkers regular as a replacement. I think although crisps are high in saturated fats etc, one eats so few within 1 sitting you can do without the healthier option. One must ask oneself healthier but at what cost ?

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      • More +
        28.10.2007 16:03
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        Power cleaner on Grime & lime.

        INTRO

        I have problems keeping the flat clean, any suggestions are welcome. I saw the advertisements for Cillit Bang, have you seen them, promising to clean almost anything. So I kept an eye open at the supermarkets I shop in. Finally I saw the product on the shelves of my local Waitrose. It stayed there for 2/3 weeks whilst I plucked up enough courage to purchase. The bottle at £2.99 was not cheap for this type of cleaner. Most I have used are in the £1.99 region. One reason for this could be Cillit bottle hold 750 ml, most cheaper products are around 500 ml.

        THE PRODUCT

        The Liquid comes in a spray form. The top of the distinctly mauve bottle is an orange spray mechanism with grip sections for the rest of the hand. Not unlike many products of a similar nature. The extra weight makes it a bit more cumbersome to use than rivals. I found the spray rather unrefined tending to splurge large amounts of liquid onto the chosen surface.

        The rear of the container is full of info and advice briefly :

        Grime and lime buster is perfect for : wash basins and bath tubs, toilets and showers, taps, chrome, stainless steel and ceramic sinks, ceramic wall and floor tiles, PVC floor covering.

        The bottle mentions its power cleaning on Grime, soap scum and limescale.

        GRIME

        I found it ideal on the grease splashed by my cooker on the surrounding, this had dried onto the tiles and the top and side of the surfaces. Most of grime whipped away after 1 minute of soaking.

        LIMESCALE

        The shower attachment in my bathroom was beginning to clog with limescale, cillt’s cleaning power was moderate but not that good. I find a dedicated cleaner works better here.

        SOAP SCUM

        The rest of the bath needed cleaning, here the product was most effective.

        INFORMATION

        Read the product carefully before you purchase it, on the back it lists several surfaces it is not suitable for including brass, marble, copper, enamel, rubber, textiles wood floors. Etc.

        The product does emphasis that it is a toxic substance along instructions as to what to do for accidents.

        MY OPINION

        Not much different than other products in the range, not as exciting as the TV advertisement (I’ve yet to try the £1 trick). Its main advantage is it comes in a large 750 ml bottle (most products in this range come in 500 ml bottles) this may mean fewer visits to the supermarket (will I be tempted to use more).

        CONTACTS

        Made by RECKITT BENCKISER, there is a website and contact numbers, to small for me to read so check this out yourself. Cillit Bang Consumer Services are at PO Box 118, Cleveland BS21 72H.

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        • Tesco Low Fat Peanut Butter / Spread / 40 Readings / 38 Ratings
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          25.03.2007 21:25
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          A useful spread, full of goodness, value for money.

          BACKGROUND

          Subsequent to my purchase of peanut butter fron Sainsbury's, I decided to check out Tesco's version of the stuff. My 340g jar cost 70p, not much difference between Tesco's and Sainsbury's. The purchase was on the 15 March 2007, the useby date Nov 2007 plenty of time to enjoy it.

          THE PRODUCT

          The jar is made from recyclable glass and the peanut butter is (was) the produce of the Netherlands. The jar has a blue top with a label full of information wrapped around it. It is suitable for vegetarians. Also as with many Tesco items they outline categories of content (in this case per teaspoon - typically 15g) in a clearly defined table eg calories, sugar, fat, saturates, sat.

          NUTRITIONAL VALUES

          87% peanuts, sunflour oil, dextrose, vegetable fat, salt.

          THE EXPERIENCE

          The tub is a convenient and easy to handle, trhe screw top comes off easily and the foil covering is easily cut away. After reading the label you get the feeling you are eating something good.

          THE TASTE EXPERIENCE

          I often spread mine on chocolate biscuits (over indulgence) for that overpowering taste of peanut followed by the seductive flavour of the chocolate. On its own it tends to be rather dry. This is not a problem on biscuits or bread. The flavour is creamy and smooth. The after taste (or follow on) is a little too salty but not too much of a problem.

          MY OPINION

          As with Sainsbury's own brand a cheap alternative to other types of spread. It might even get a more value for money with larger sizes, I did not notice other sizes in my Tesco's metro.

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          • Waitrose / Highstreet Shopping / 22 Readings / 21 Ratings
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            07.01.2007 20:41
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            A more upmarket supermarket

            our shopping mall used to house a Safeway's (remember them). They decided to renovate the whole mall. it took over 2 years during which time I was forced to shop elsewhere (including Sainsbury's and Tesco). Whilst waiting we knew that the space was going to be filled with a supermarket....Safeways got taken over by Morrison's. And then Somerfields....finally the mall reached its completion this summer Waitrose took over and filled the space. This came as a surprise; I'd never shopped at a Waitrose before.

            WHATS' ON OFFER?

            Like most major Supermarkets they have a selection of own brands, so far I have tried their chocolate, washing up liquid, cereals, these are all cheaper than brands of a similar nature and taste just as good. Our Waitrose does not have the selection of own brands that other stores I use have....this could be because being new to the area and due to the building works closure of the mall meant people started to shop elsewhere....they probably need the brand names to attract custom back.

            they do have a wide selection of food (and a wide walkway between counters) like most supermarkets of their size; similarly each category of produce is given a section of supermarket space. Our store has plenty of alcohol (I've yet to try it but prices are reasonable). the other side of the store houses meat and vegetables both self service and ready wrapped. They also have fish counter service offering a butcher to cut the meats to your pecification, like wise a fish monger and a delicatessen offering cooked meats and cheeses. Also included a bakery section (patisserie). Due to financial constraints I've yet to try these. They also have a hot food counter (rotisserie). Since I started shopping there last summer the number of own brands has increased considerably. They also hae a selection of cleaning agents with clothes etc. All in all similar to most foodstores as Supermarkets.

            SOME EXAMPLES OF PRICES OF FOODS (from my till tickets)!

            Small dried skimmed milk - 45p
            Own brand chocolate bar (200g) - £1.05
            White cabbage per kg - 89p
            Royal gala apples (per 8 apple pack) - £1.49
            Fairtrade bananas per kg - 99p
            Carrots per kg - 69
            Cauliflower packed - £1.25
            Wrapped and packed chicken thighs (8) - £3.82
            Onions per kg - 69p
            Flora light - 99p

            Overall the prices tend to be a little higher than our Tesco possibly because they have more special offers. It would be difficult to compare with the store that was there before because of the year's gap. If it was not for the convenience I might be tempted to shop elsewhere.

            THE SERVICE

            The service is much the same as other supermarkets - for the most you are allowed to serve yourself, as mentioned I've yet to try the personal service counters (checkout my updates). I did notice you are able to walk in and out without actually shopping; the checkouts are to the side of the entrance/exits. I have not noticed this at other supermarkets in and around the area.

            LOYALTY CARD

            The company has in partnership with other companies a partnership card, this can become a credit card backed by Master card, you can also use it to collect redeemable points for your shopping bill. Other organisations in the scheme are John Lewis, Peter Jones, Ocado and Greenbee. I've yet to try this....I already collect Nectar and Clubcard points (watch for updates).

            THE WEBSITE

            The website is set up for online shopping, my Waitrose is so local and I have so much time it is hardly worth it for me but I'm sure a change in my finances would change all of that. All in all it is similar to most other Supermarket websites, they have a store locator, opening hours, facilities for each store, my local wineglass and kettle fish loan. A recipes section. I do not have broadband this was not a hinderance the website downloaded quickly enough.

            MY OPINION

            Waitrose is a supermarket it therefore is like most supermarkets; I would place it at the upper end by comparison to other supermarkets along Sainsburys. My shop was a few pounds more expensive, tolerable given its convenience. The ambience of the shop was not spoilt by music and the check out staff were no better or worsethan elsewhere. I've yet to check out the food counters for personal service (watch out for updates). I'm not really spending enough to make the LOYALTY CARD worthwhile. I am considering the possibilities. again like most supermarkets one tends towards convenience rather than exclusivity.

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            • Nectar Card / Credit Card / 25 Readings / 23 Ratings
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              01.01.2007 21:21
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              A loyalty card with credit card potential

              I was introduced to Nectar Card loyalty scheme/rewards shopping at a Sainsbury’s in town. A young female offered to sign me up and I fell for it, I completed a few forms and was on my way. That must have been a year or 2 ago (I’m not to sure), very quickly I noticed that the size of my shopping bill did not add much in the way of rewards. That’s when I decided to introduce the scheme to my Mum, her shopping bill now adds rewards to my account (more later).

              WHAT IS IT ?

              The company is owned and operated by Loyalty Management Group. The operation I would describe as reward scheme for shoppers. Basically depending on where you shop you are rewarded points dependent upon the amount you spend. These points mount up in your account. When you have a sufficient amount you can trade them in for various rewards. Initially I accessed the scheme via the post box and shop till. Shortly after joining I went online with them and now access them via their site at www.nectar.com.

              WHERE CAN YOU EARN POINTS ?

              The website gives most of the information; I am not a broadband user and yet still find the site easy to download. Examples of some of the big companies involved are Sainsbury’s (2points for every £ spent), Debenhams (the same), bp (1 point for every litre of fuel), Adams (2 points for every £) Ford (the same). EDF the energy suppliers have an even better offer at 3,200 Nectar points for the 1st year and then 300 rewards for every 1/4 bill). They add to the list regularly certainly I think it would be hard to be a UK shopper without dealing with at least 1 company that deals with Nectar. Most of my points are added via Sainsbury’s, you will have to read someone else’s review to find out about the other companies.

              WHERE CAN YOU REDEEM POINTS ?

              You can spend you points on special offers, these are advertised via the website or come through the post at regular intervals; special offers on Magazines, wines, sports & leisure, sound & vision. Or you can trade the points in for cash against your bill, at Sainsbury’s 500 points = £2.50. Argos has the same trade. Presently they are promoting shopping via the web so many labels are flown on their website.

              IN ADDITION !

              Through the post with my regular account information come vouchers you can submit to various companies that add points to your account, I normally trade mine in at Sainsbury’s, my mum uses Beefeaters and trades in vouchers for points there. All your information is available and easily accessible via the website in a table listing points and where earned.

              The site also have facilities for the businessperson, you can apply for a BUSINESS CARD (or 2 in 1 in my case).....Here you account provides facilities as above but for the business user. I run a small micro - business (CIAO helps trickle funds into my account when I’m not earning money elsewhere). This with a point’s incentive tempted me to register for the business account.

              AND as I mentioned my mother is a NECTAR card user, whilst my funds are low I switched her account to mine (with her permission) so that any points she collects can be added to my account. When things get better she’d like her own points. You can add as many partners as you wish. This can all be done via the website. Likewise if you loose you NECTAR CARD you can have it replaced, just order another via the website or telephone or post. This has happened to us.

              MORE RECENTLY.......as a Ciao user you probably complete surveys as well; well at least 1 organisation will pay you in NECTAR POINTS for completing surveys for them. They are mentioned on the website and are TNS.

              THE WEBSITE

              Apart from the literature I get in the post, I normally go to the NECTAR website (www.nectar.com). I’ve covered most of what I have to say via the above text. you can logon with your password and username and find out more about your status, manage your account. The facilities are quite comprehensive and allow you to update and change your account as well as find out your point status. This is shown as a table, which is easy and convenient to read, and you can print it off. There is plenty of information about the companies involved in the project, games and special offers.

              MY OPINION

              Most Supermarkets have some type of loyalty schemes operating, with TESCO I use Clubcard, Tesco along with other retailers offer NECTAR points, the advantage of course is you can shop at stores who might be in competition with each other and collect points, more difficult with a supermarket charge card. The cards can be a little fiddly at the checkout (you can get key ring fobs as well). They operate rather like a credit card.....with that you have the motive, your NECTAR CARD can become a credit card with your permission (they probably mentioned it when I joined). I already have 1 so you’ll have to check some body else’s review for that facility. I’m using mine until my financial situation improves, I normally trade in points for those little luxuries. Some review items have been purchased this way.

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              • In The Mood For Love (DVD) / DVD / 30 Readings / 28 Ratings
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                12.12.2006 00:09
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                Hong in the early 1960's

                My copy of the film In The Mood for love came as a freebie DVD presented by the Times. This a film by Wonng Kar - Wai has a censor PG (Parental Guidance) for children under 12 years old. The film is approx 94 minutes long. The film is presented by Jet Tone Films productions. My version came in its original language of Cantonese with English sub titles. The film was well received at the Cannes film festival in 2000.

                ***THE PLOT***

                Set in Hong Kong, 1962, Chow Mo-Wan (Tony Leung - Happy Together, Hard Boiled Egg) is a junior newspaper editor with an elusive wife they move into a new building. Su Li-zhen (Maggie Cheung - Days of Being Wild, Irma Vep), a beautiful secretary and her executive husband are recently arrived neighbours. The husband spends much of his time away on business trips. When their spouses often away, Chow and Li-zhen spend most of their time together as friends. As there friendship develops they make a discovery that changes their lives forever. They are shocked to discover that their spouses are having an affair.........

                ***THE CINEMATIC EXPERIENCE***

                CAST : The 2 major actors have been mentioned above.

                AWARDS : The film was awarded best actor & technical achievement best cinematography and editing at the Cannes festival in 2000.

                This film is a sumptuous exploration of desire, internationally acclaimed director Wong Kar-Wai (2046, As tears Go By) creates a world of sensuality and longing. The subtitles make the acting stand out as more important than words in this period piece. Looks, gestures and even clothes stand for what is not spoken in this film. I have it on good authority the situation of Hong Kong is true to its state in 1962. Commentary on ritual dominates the body of the film. The range is limited mainly strings and helps to break and enhance the film.

                ***MY OPINION***

                I apologise for not writing more, the film is excellent its presentation of Honk Kong in a matter of fact way rather reminds me of Andy Warhol and some of his media events. I’m not surprised it caught the attention of Cannes. the foreign language along with the sub titles helps this effect. Hong Kong cramped living conditions are portrayed in graphic style with plenty of heavy rain. most of the camera shoots are close up and you don’t see much of the sky line. The pictures of President De Gaulle of France landing in Cambodia departing from a commercial jet to meet the resident Royal family where particularly novel and quite a surprise. I did not notice any women smoking.

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              • Belleville Rendez-Vous (DVD) / DVD / 30 Readings / 30 Ratings
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                01.12.2006 20:14
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                A touch of french cartoon cinema.

                My copy of Belleville Rendez - vous came free with a copy of the Times on Saturday. The cover gave away the cartoon style that was to follow. Written & directed by Sylvian Chomet for predominantly French audiences, it goes under the name The Triplets of Belleville for English speaking audiences. The film came in DVD format, rated PG parental guidance for children under 12 years old due probably to the mild nudity & moderate violence as mentioned. It lasts approximately 80 minutes including advertising for the Times and a trailer for the next free gift.

                ***THE PLOT***

                Champion is orphaned at a young age and kept by his grandmother Madame Souza. Noticing his unhappiness she buys him a bicycle. Champion becomes obsessed with cycling and it dominates their lives until Champion is worthy of his name. now he is ready to enter the worlds' most famous cycle race, The Tour de France. Soon after the race has begun he and other competitors are kidnapped. It is up to Madame Souza & her faithful dog, Bruno, to rescue them from the crooks. Soon their quest takes them across the Atlantic to a seaport called Belleville, HQ of the French mafia. Lost in the metropolis they encounter 3 eccentric female music sisters (The Belleville Triplettes) music hall stars of the 1930's. Now a jazz combo. They join the old ladies and do battle with the evil French mafia. Can recapture Champion.......?

                ***CINIMATIC EXPERIENCE***

                CAST
                Beatrice Bonilassi....................Triplette (voice)
                Lina Boudreau......................... '' ''
                Marie - Lou Gauthier................ '' ''
                Charles Linton (singing voice)

                The story is simple enough the character design by Sylvian is abstract and ugly. The dialogue is fairly minimal, what there is describes a razor sharp wit. The animation is grotesque but classical. The film is a visual delight and appealing to both young and old.

                ***MY OPINION***

                I thought there ought to be more music, the show moves from scene to scene quickly helping to maintain interest. I watched it in 2 sittings due to time constraints, this passed quickly enough. I would have preferred more dialogue but I guess something in the french language would sell well here. The black & white start start with the three sisters singing jazz is a nice touch. The music and the abstract cartoons add bundles to the atmosphere, worth watching again. I suspect I will.

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                • Mrs Dalloway (DVD) / DVD / 26 Readings / 25 Ratings
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                  26.11.2006 19:34
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                  A modern classic that could have been written for the movies

                  Mrs Dalloway, another adaptation of a Virginia Woolf 1925 novel. Brought to life by the Oscar winning director Antonia’s Line. Released in 1997 this English language film in colour lasts for 93 minutes or at least the free DVD I got from the Daily Mail did. The film is PG (parental guidance) and considered fit for viewing by under 12 year old under parental guidance. The film is set in 1923.

                  ***THE STORY***

                  The story starts with a scene of war in Italy (1918). It switches to London 1923, Clarrissa Dallaway (Venessa Redgrave) an MP’s wife sets out on a beautiful morning; she's shopping for flowers for her party that evening. On her walk through London she thinks about her past (flashbacks) and her time with her friend Sally. Her life is thrown into crisis when a lover she rejected 30 years ago makes an un expected appearance at her party in her elegant London home. This prompts bittersweet memories (flashbacks). These include scenes of rural England with her friends and her decision to marry one (who made her an MP’s wife) and not the other. Some action also includes Septimus Warren Smith a war victim (WW1) with shell shock. He decides to kill himself. After this the party starts and ends successfully.

                  ***CINEMATIC EXPERIENCE***

                  CAST includes

                  Marleen Gorris................Oscar winning director
                  Vanessa Redrave...........Klarissa Dalloway
                  Natascha McBhone.........Solaris
                  Rupert Graves................A film with a view

                  The periods scenes in England both rural and London are picturesque even beautiful with plenty of period houses and large gardens. The flashbacks work well. The class differences between the domestic staff and upper classes are quite entertaining. The dialogue is an improvement on Orlando (see my previous review) I don’t know whether Woolf planed it this way. The suicide is matter of fact but still quite dramatic. The music is classical for the period but unexceptional, however it does add something to the drama.

                  ***MY OPINION***

                  I do like to see some of modern English classics writers dramatised for TV and film. It makes the duty of keeping up with developments in English literature some much easier for the couch potatoes like myself. These dramatizations really do work out well; classics like Bronte and Woolf seem to have a style that is well suited for this type of visual drama. The postcard picture backgrounds add a lot to the author’s originals. As I have mentioned the film is very picturesque and as a Londoner I enjoyed this. The scenes in the park earlier on must be from Regents Park. The memories I associate with this and the upper class dwellings make the film more emotional for me and I quite enjoyed the sensation of watching it.

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                  • Charmed / TV Programme / 30 Readings / 29 Ratings
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                    12.08.2006 15:36
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                    A light hearted programme about 3 supernatural females

                    Now on channel 5 on a Saturday between 13.00 - 14.00 and Sunday between 16.40 - 17.40. I started to watch Charmed almost by mistake when it was showing on a Sunday night, the three attractive female stars caught my eye so I decided to tune in now and again when my spirits are low.

                    The show is produced by Aaron Spelling of Beverly Hills starring Shannon Doherty (as Pru). Alyssa Milano (as Phoebe). Holly Marie Combs (as Piper). As 3 sisters who are reunited in their grandmother’s house in San Francisco. They have unique powers to fight off evil supernatural forces. The Halliwell mansion is actually shot on location in Los Angeles.

                    Pru - powers to move objects with her mind and astral travel.
                    Phoebe - powers to help her see in to the future and past and levitate.
                    Piper - power to freeze time, destroy objects and demons.

                    The Charmed logo is called triquetra, which is Latin for 3 cornered and dates from Indian 5000 years ago. It also represents the Holy Trinity in Christianity and has status in pagan worship.

                    Today’s episode is concerned primarily with Piper and her young boy and a kidnap attempt at his classes by demons. Also running Pru indulges in online dating and several liaisons follow. Another light-hearted episode that seems suitable for youngsters at afternoon showings.

                    MY OPINION

                    The show is great for youngsters (the age range that enjoy Buffy). Photogenic people in pleasant surroundings. The evil is not to frightening although some of the evil characters are rather ugly. The supernatural acts and powers almost believable in this day and age. The action moves at sufficient pace to maintain interest. The plots are not to complex, but you can manage to enjoy the show without one. There is little gratuitous violence (Buffy employs more contact aggression).

                    You can find out more about the show and guests on their micro - site at

                    www.thewiccabox.co.uk/charmed/charmed.htm - The Wiccabox site is being allowed to promote the Charmed soundtrack at the moment (I did not notice it as anything spectacular). Advice on what this includes can be found there. Other merchandise is available.

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                    • More +
                      05.08.2006 23:01
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                      Eurotunnel, the whole journey, more exclusie than the boat (and possibly plane).

                      The UK and French governments have divided the operation into 3 main parts & given each to a different operator.

                      1. Eurotunnel who are the operators who control the trains.
                      2. Le Shuttle the name of the train service between Folkestone & Calais.
                      3. Eurostar the train service between London & Paris - Brussels.

                      I tried the journey from Waterloo to Brussels and will be able to relate this experience to you. Before then some history and background to help you make your decision as to whether to travel and if yes how to make it more enjoyable.

                      ***THE PRODUCT***

                      This review is concerned with the Eurotunnel experience; they are the company that control operations between Folkestone (UK) and Coquelles (France). They manage the infrastructure of the channel tunnel and receive toll revenues from train operating companies. Our governments have granted a concession to operate a service until 2086. Eurostar also operate trains through the tunnel (see my other review). It takes about 35 minutes for a eurotunnel train to cross 50 km tunnel under the channel. The service operates 24/7 for 365 days a year.

                      A LITTLE HISTORY:

                      1802 - French engineer A. Mathieu with the 1st ever design for a tunnel followed closely by and English man, H. Mottray.
                      1830 - Steam trains and British rail network, by the mid 19 century a French engineer T de Gamond had produced another plan.
                      1880 - 1st attempt by Beaumont & English at a boring machine.
                      1957 - 16th July Channel Tunnel Study Group formed who proposed a twin bore tunnel with an additional service tunnel in 1960.
                      1973 - project formally launched by Edward Heath & President Pompidou.
                      1985 - invitation to tender.
                      1986 - (1960 proposal accepted) formation of Eurotunnel group.
                      1987 - boring begins.
                      1994 - tunnel opened and 1st international freight train through.

                      SOME FURTHER FACTS:

                      Eurotunnel have been operating since 1994 transporting people and goods, they operate 25 shuttle trains carrying cars, coaches & trucks. In 2004 Eurotunnel carried 1.3 million trucks, 2.1 million cars, 63,000 coaches on the shuttle service. I provided for 7.3 million eurostar passengers and 1.9 million tonnes of freight. The company employs 3,205 people split UK (1,278) France (1,927) including the chairman Jacques Gounon.

                      More facts like these at www.eurotunnel.com the official website address.

                      ***THE EXPERIENCE***

                      I found the seats rather cramped, but probably because of the times of travel the carriages were not too crowded hence I could move around. The buffet bar served expensive but palatable snacks and the service was in English. The French check passports in the UK before departure. The tunnel was over quickly and quite frankly rather like any other tunnel, certainly it added very little in discomfort to the journey (excepting the lack of outside to stare at). Even in my forties the concept of being able to get on a train in 1 country and alight in a foreign speaking one had some fascination. Having travelled by boat the convenience of the train was evident, even by plane station to station; city to city is far better economy. Since travelling I have only heard of 1 incident concerning tunnel safety where passengers had to be evacuated. Since problems in the UK capital recently I wonder how long it will be before another occurs.

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                      • Epson Stylus C40 / Inkjet Printer / 24 Readings / 22 Ratings
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                        05.08.2006 21:09
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                        Cheap, effective printer with a reliable label - the Epson C40

                        4 years ago I bought an e machine from PC World, included in the package a free printer, they gave me the Epson C40 a small standard 4 colour inkjet printer, one of a series. Mine still works and I use it as backup and less sophisticated printing (I updated to a 3 in 1 Epson CX3200 - the brand impressed me). I’m looking to sell it now I am more confident with the CX3200.

                        ***THE PRODUCT***

                        According to the label my machine was assembled in China with Japanese components, Epson Stylus is a trade mark of SEIKO EPSON. Like most Epson products it is compatible with Microsoft software and Macintosh. Its small round size and aesthetic design means it does not take up much space and fits neatly on a shelf or desk top. It’s operation is quite simple and online support is provided by the company, they even have an interactive section for quick solutions. The paper feed tray is simple and has a feature for envelope printing (addresses etc). Next to this 2 buttons, 1 for on/off the other is referred to as the maintenance button.

                        For it’s connectivity to the PC it has a USB interplay which allows simple plug and play printing. The quality of output is not to bad, low quality photos can be reproduced and images from the web can be reproduced. Mine came with samples of higher quality paper for photo standard reproductions. At this stage I’ve not developed much of an interest in digital photography and home printing so this was un necessary, but I have seen quality reproductions and the right paper is essential.
                        It runs on 2 ink cartridges 1 black the other colour. Both are expensive although compatible inks are becoming more reliable and cost considerably less (watch out for the status of the warranty when using them). It produces 1440 DPI quality.

                        MINIMUM SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS

                        Pentium for Windows 98 and upwards, Mac OS 8.1.

                        ***MY OPINION***

                        The printer is small, light and versatile and ideal for a 1st time user. I got mine free with my e machine from PC World, I probably would have bought it had it not as it produces a suitable quality for WP documents and it’s price is fairly low. The big cost of course is the inkjet cartridge, I got my 1st set with the machine. You can operate 1 with a scanner which is useful when trying to produce photocopies etc, this lacks a stand alone quality the Epson CX3200 has. It is quite robust, after 4 years mine is still producing several prints a week. Because of more sophisticated models on the market I would not recommend paying much for 1. Some companies will throw one in with a package.

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                        • More +
                          02.08.2006 20:24
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                          Compilation, live, acoustic Rolloing Stones.

                          Stripped a Rolling Stones favourites compilation (?) released by VIRGIN as an LP in 1995 and CD 1998. The front cover shows a picture of the 4 members of the band, Mick, Keith, Ronnie Wood and Charlie to me they appear rather New York punkish in a Warholesque way (Velvet Underground). In this year 1995 the Stones completed a world tour including Mexico, Australasia and Europe. During the tour the band took time to record ACOUSTIC versions of classics, these tracks make up the album STRIPPED.

                          ***CONTENT***

                          The tunes (written by Jagger/Richards unless stated) in order of appearance:

                          1. Street fighting Man - from Beggars Banquet.
                          2. Like a Rolling Stones - (Dylan) not recorded by the Stones before.
                          3. Not fade away - High Tide and Green Grass).
                          4. Shine a light (Exile on Main Street)
                          5. The Spider and the Fly (Out of my Head).
                          6. I’m Free (Decembers children).
                          7. Wild Horses (Sticky Fingers).
                          8. Let it Bleed (the album)/Dead flowers (Sticky Fingers).
                          9. Angie (Goats Head Soup).
                          10. Love in Vain (Let it Bleed).
                          11. Sweet Virginia ( Tumbling Dice).
                          12. Little Baby (Dixon).

                          Like a Rolling Stone was recorded in Rotterdam with Dylan and released as a single.

                          ***MY OPINION***

                          Have you ever seen the Stones live in the UK, most gigs are large scale and as you age you miss your creature comforts (toilets, food, comfy seating). This live album brings some of the live feel to your home. Throughout the album the songs have a vibrancy and intensity which the Stones had not captured before in the studio. Only once have I heard such a Stones sound on the bootleg Cock Sucker Blues. The selection of songs covers a good 10 years of early Stones material and bloody good they are. The Dylan track “Like a Rolling Stone“ is not miss placed and the older tracks benefit from a more comprehensive treatment in production (additional instruments as well). This is second only to my favourite Stones album “It’s Only Rock and Roll”. Definitely worth a listen too when you get the time.


                          FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE ROLLING STONES at their website:
                          www.rollingstones.cwc.net

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                          • bid tv / TV Channel / 31 Readings / 29 Ratings
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                            31.07.2006 17:29
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                            A new way to shop using the TV and Internet.

                            Further to the acquisition of my freview digital box another shopping channel review in compararison and contrast with earlier shopping channel reviews. Ideal world and QVC, bidtv. Bid TV originally called bid - up tv and launched by its parent company, sit - up Ltd in October 2000. In June 2003 the parent company launched its sister channel Price - drop tv (see later review).
                            Bid tv is a digital television channel based in the UK that runs daily live Auctions it was the first channel of its kind in the world. It started broadcasts as pre - recordings and is now completely live. It has become popular by offering a laid-back, friendly approach to its viewers.

                            AVAILABILITY: Sky 655, NTL channel 924, Telewest 746, Freeview 23. Owned by Telewest broadband.

                            PRESENTATION

                            PRESENTERS
                            · Andy_Hodgson
                            · Lynn Taylor
                            · Peter_Simon
                            · Mark Ryes
                            · Sean Macintosh
                            · Carmel_Thomas
                            · Paul Becque
                            · Pollyanna Woodward

                            FREELANCERS
                            · Tim_Lichfield
                            · Charlotte Jackson
                            · Charlotte Mounter
                            · Bronwyn Lloyd Hughes

                            ASSISTANCE
                            · Ruth Miller
                            · Lisa Leyland
                            · Liz Summers
                            · Suzanne Banham
                            · Erica Street
                            · Lisa Marie Long

                            WEBSITE

                            The website has a functional interface, at the top of the page a login facility to set up your own account plus contact details (helpdesk - return items - queries address).

                            There is a button with an explanation of bid tv, it describes it thus: over 100 auctions to choose from everyday - with falling price auctions everyone pays the lowest price. There is also a search engine facility for products. Further advice on SUMMER SIZZLERS fills most of the page. To the right COMING NEXT, outline of following auctions on the programme.

                            THE TV SHOW

                            Banter is created through the presence of "auction assistants" (mentioned above) who help to demonstrate products, as well as informing the viewer of upcoming auctions.
                            On screen the bid tv logo appears in the right hand corner of the screen. In the left hand corner triangles with prices (in £ & p - the bid price) which change according to bidding via the telephone. And quantity (number decreases). Exactly how the bidding system works I’ve yet to work out. Here is a quote from some literature that might help to explain. On the channel, an item was advertised with a specific quantity, and a 'bid-up from' price triangle. Customers phoned in and bid up from the particular amount. Recent developments mean that customers pay the lowest price whatever their start bid (see above).

                            At the bottom of the screen 2 scroll bars, blue & yellow, the blue shows information about the product on sale. The yellow shows detail about the product that is about to follow etc. This is a useful aid to help you plan future viewing without reference to the website.

                            The set up is similar to price drop TV its sister channel.

                            MY OPINION

                            I’ve watched a few times and found the programme does generate some excitement rather like a real auction. Today (31/July/2006) at 15.50 a female presenter practically dressed demonstrated a 1GB MP3 player selling at £32.22. During the presentation she walked to another part of the studio to introduce the next item, a child BBQ. The scroll bars help to plan future viewing in the short term and make for more enjoyable viewing when switching on on the spur of the moment. Like its rivals Ideal world & QVC this is a new concept in retail selling using TV, Internet and telephone. I am poor so I have yet to purchase using the set up. More advice concerning postage costs, quality, delivery time, return of faulty (unsuitable) goods to follow with updates.

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                              16.07.2006 16:53
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                              A dark, sweet, malty Irish stout.

                              I decided to take my Murphy’s draught Irish Stout at home rather than in a pub. The stout came in a 440-ml can alcoholic content 4% by vol. According to the pictogram on the can this is the equivalent to 1.8 UK units.

                              The product is produced under licence in the UK and distributed by INBEV UK Ltd. Murphy’s was established in 1856. You can contact Interbrew at INTERBREW UK LTD, LUTON LU1 3LS. They have a website at www.drinkaware.co.uk

                              THE EXPERIENCE

                              Murphy’s like Guinness pours slowly once complete you’ll notice a white head tops the black stuff. It’s suggested you serve chilled. At room temperature some of the flavour is lost. Murphy’s stout is sweet not bitter and for me this gives it an edge over Guinness and adds considerably to the malty taste experience (I noticed a nutty background flavour). It has a smooth texture which helps give a rich full flavour, almost a meal in itself. I noticed no strong aroma. I did notice a lingering slightly bitter aftertaste.

                              At 4% alcohol content by volume this beer packs quite a punch, careful with use when driving or operating heavy machinery. Its strong flavour means a little can add a lot to a meal. Today I tried mine with pizza, pork pie and salad. Great !

                              The can is recyclable steel and contains a pressurised insert. Which helps to make you feel great about the whole thing.

                              ENJOY

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                              • Sky News / TV Channel / 24 Readings / 22 Ratings
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                                14.07.2006 11:25
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                                A professional 24 hour news package - available internationally.

                                Further to my initial investigations into channels available via my freeview digital box. SKY NEWS Europes 1st 24 hour news channel, part of a suite of channels launched by British Sky Broadcasting launched in February 1989. Its main competitors are BBC News 24, BBC World, Euronews, CNN. Available by satellite in Africa, the Middle East, Australia. Its website www.sky.com/news .

                                AVAILABILITY

                                Terrestial Freeview Channel 82
                                Satellite Sky digital 501
                                Cyfra + 677
                                Astra IKR #597v
                                DStr 52
                                Telewest 602
                                NTL 120

                                The station broadcasts from Osterley, West London. Sky News currently employs around 50 on-screen staff: anchors, weather forecasters, correspondents and reporters, and over 500 behind-the-scenes workers. The station has 7 bureaux outside the United Kingdom, Brussels, New Delhi, Johannesburg, Jerusalem, Moscow, Beijing and Washington. It has broadcast over 148,000 hours of continuous news since its start.

                                PRESENTATIONS

                                WEBSITE

                                The Sky.com website has 3 main sections on the left hand side a menu offering UK News, World News amongst others a video selection of broadcasts as well. The main picture in the centre showing the top stories. To the right a search engine and links to other useful sites. Along with all sorts of other useful information.

                                BROADCAST SCREEN

                                The bottom quarter of the picture has three stripes, a red strip with wording Breaking News. Underneath a white strip 2x the red size filled with black type concerned with the news headline and a few words of print explanation which often refers to the picture show and dialogue (often the case with features). under this a blue strip across the screen with the Sky logo and 24 hour clock (digital format). Too the right a scroll bar with printed information about events scrolling by (similar to that used on BBC News 24). Regular updates both written and verbal offer a list of the top stories.

                                The screen presentation varies, sometimes 2 windows each with a broadcaster, other times a full picture of 2 presenters behind a desk. I’ve also seen 4 windows during a presentation with communication between them. Regular features mentioned on the website are James Rubin “World News Tonight” and Kay Burley “Lunchtime live with Kay Burley”.

                                Between programmes short commercial breaks and weather reports.
                                Awards include a BAFTA for September 11 2001 broadcasts. the channel has been featured in many blockbusting films including “Independence Day” and “Mission Impossible”.

                                MY OPINION

                                The channel has a reputation for journalistic integrity, this tends to show up during many of its broadcast particularly subjects of a sensitive area. It has kept most of its original team of presenters from its launch including the now retired Bob Friend OBE. I find it re assuring to see the same broadcasters on other news programmes, I have yet to check out this channel overtime (updates to follow). After its move to Osterly in 2005 the channel started to broadcast in wide screen, I’ve yet to try this, the football and pictures like today’s from Israel showing Hezbolla missile attacks could look increasingly dynamic. Like most 24 hour news channels Sky makes for fairly dynamic news presentation even though individual items tend to show for sometime. The 4 screen presentation concerning the G8 meeting soon to follow is an example of this. If you don’t yet have access to a 24 hour News channel this one might be worth checking out.

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